Lice Resistance


Insecticides were introduced in the 20th century as an alternative way of treating head lice. Data from over-the-counter pesticide solutions in the 1980s showed high efficacy in killing head lice.

But lice are quick to adapt to changes in their environment. That's why lice are studied by evolutionary parasitologists. The parasitologists can observe the lice evolving over multiple generations in just a few months.

Head lice are no exception. Around the turn of the 21st century, there began to be reports that head lice were developing resistance to lice shampoos and similar products containing pesticides.

Since then, many studies have further documented that these "super lice" have evolved resistance to certain pesticides, and that many pesticide-based lice products are no longer achieving the high efficacy rates they once did.

Lice resistance should not be an issue for lice treatments using lice combs or dehydration (desiccation). It is highly improbable that lice will be able to evolve resistance to the AirAllé® device (which kills head lice through dehydration) because the mutations involved in resistance to pesticides would not protect lice from desiccation. Evolving "resistance" to desiccation would be akin to evolving the ability to go without water.

Lice Clinics of America

Head Lice

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